Taking it on one spoonful at a time!

Leave a comment

Don’t Be Behind The 8 Ball

If you haven’t figured it out yet, Social Media is a competition just like selling your product better than your competitors.  You should know what your competitors are selling, when and what they have on sale and a little bit about their strategy.  Why?  Because you want to stay ahead of them.  In sales, the first one to the sandbox gets the best choice of tools for ultimate sandcastle building.  So it goes also for getting clients.  The first one to woo the customers with sales, BOGO offers, freebies and loyalty discounts will most likely be the one who gains and retains clients.  Early bird catches the worm so to speak.

This is also true of the use of social media.  If you don’t pay attention and get on the social stick, your competitors will do it through video, webinars and live chats.  Social media is primarily used to inform & share information with a tiny bit of selling thrown in there.  If you aren’t the one out there grabbing the attention of potential clients with more than just posts and pictures, someone else will be and you don’t suddenly want to be behind the 8 ball wondering how you got there.  You should always be innovating and trying new things.  That’s not to say that you need to spend all kinds of money on video equipment but you should be trying out video with simple solutions like Adobe products and an iPhone or a camera that is enabled with a HD video functionality.  You should be watching the kinds of posts and media that your competitors are putting out there and using that to formulate your strategy or using it as a stepping stone to the next level.


Leave a comment

Why Am I Seeing This?

I love finding shortcuts and easy ways to do my job. I don’t mean that I’m lazy but with all the tasks that are required to do this job well, having tools that make them easier and faster are beneficial. It’s the old “it’s not how well you mow fast, it’s how fast you mow well” kind of thing. Examples of this include Hootsuite which makes my posting life a dream. Google Analytics which give me the insight to know who is paying attention to me. Other things like Facebook and Google trends allow me to think about current events in terms of our business and use those topics as a stepping off point to timely posts that people are tuned into right now.

This business is about keeping up with your competitors and putting out better resources that draw the attention of new clients. There are a few tricks out there like following their pages, blogs and Instagram accounts to see what they are sharing and then taking that and in your own way turning that into your own useful information sharing. I came across another handy tip today thank you to one of the many social media resource experts that I look to for help when I need it. I am not sure about you, but I am super sensitive about seeing annoying ads in my personal Facebook Newsfeed. I shouldn’t be because we have advertised on our social media channels so I get it. I just don’t necessarily appreciate it all the time. So, the suggestion, which might border on simple brilliance, was that when you see an ad from your competitors which is pretty easy to spot you should click on the “why am I seeing this option” choice instead of hitting “hide this ad”. When you do that, you will be able to see why you’re seeing the ad which tells you the demographic that they are targeting and a small piece of insight into why. BAM! super smart right?

This isn’t really sneaky just creative in that it allows you to begin thinking about to whom you should consider marketing to and some of the why. Now, you may already be doing this but if you’re not it will at least provide you with an idea or two on potential ways and topics with which to reach a certain demographic that may seem just out of your marketing reach. Add this to your regular strategic arsenal and you’ll only fine tune not only your target audience but also the way in which you are reaching them.

Leave a comment

5 Things I love about the new LinkedIn set up

It isn’t new any more however, if you haven’t seen it yet, LinkedIn has an updated look! The new layout is closer to what we are accustomed to seeing in our use of sites like Facebook and Twitter. The old layout was what I would consider choppy and a bit distracting. Ad’s and suggestions consumed a large portion of the pages and quite frankly derailed a users focus to the point of coming up for air an hour later wondering what it is you came for and what you actually accomplished.

The new layout makes visual sense and seemingly has a much better flow. The annoying ads and suggested contacts are now in one place. Now I come and actually achieve what I set out to get done. Five of the the new layout features that I really like include:

  • “Always on top” Navigational menu at the top menu bar. This menu doesn’t disappear if you cease to hover over it and sub menus don’t just pop up.
  • Improved navigational set up making it easier to see and search your network.
  • Clear count of your connections. The old layout of the network connections page didn’t list how many connections you had not to mention you had to keep turning the page for the next 10 people. The new layout is a continuous scrolling list that make it easy to find someone, message them or disconnect from them.
  • The job list for the companies you follow and for the preferences you set up are easy to see, change and save. Also, the “Post a job” feature is in a place where it finally makes sense.
  • All of the notifications are easy to see, respond to when YOU want to respond to them instead of taking up real estate on the side bar of your profile page.

Long story short is that I approve of the new layout. I find it easy to navigate around and it is inviting. It takes your mind off the choppiness of the layout and puts it on finding what you came for. Bravo LinkedIn. It’s about time you caught up with the times.

Leave a comment

In the words of Ben Franklin

I recently sat through an online tutorial for a work tool that would enable us to host online meetings and webinars.  This is a great idea and we have tossed it around for a while now without committing to a particular product.  We know what we want, and now it is time to find the best product for the agency. We are still very much a live seminar / workshop group for the time being. We’ll get there eventually, and probably sooner rather than later.

I am someone who spends a tremendous amount of time on the internet for my job, so I was tasked with researching the pros and cons of the each of the products on the market to see what will best fit our immediate and future needs.  One way I start this process is to search YouTube for product demonstrations.  That’s the no obligation way to give something a pretty fair once over before narrowing down your choices, so that is what I did.  With one demo in particular, I subjected myself to 6 minutes and 27 seconds of unpreparedness from a presenter who now holds the title of “unprofessional” in my mind.  This person clearly wasn’t ready to record this 16+ minute webinar.  Here are the issues I found with the presentation.

  • Poor Sound.  She was either on her cell phone in her car or had a horrible speaker / wireless mic that she was using.  It was hard to hear, faded in and out, and sounded as though she was speaking through a tin can.  If you are going to record a demo it really should be done in a controlled environment with quality equipment.
  • No Script.  The presenter clearly did not write out her script ahead of time, nor did she rehearse it. A presentation should make the listener believe that you are the expert which means that you should be prepared with exactly what to say in proper, clear grammatical sentences.
  • Disorganized.  This person did not have an organized plan, agenda or flow to her demo.  She was all over the place in terms of the points she was making and the features she wanted to show.  She clearly was presenting from memory, going back and forth between the features she knew and the features she had forgotten to explain to the viewer.

Here’s the bottom line from someone who has been a presenter and communicator for her entire career. If you are going to provide content to the public it should be professional.  If you are going to educate people you need to sound and appear as the expert, not someone who puts things together on the fly.  First impressions can also be last impressions with no opportunity for redemption.  Worse than that, the aftermath of a poor presentation may not be immediately apparent and may come in the form of poor online reviews or even video rants.  Take pride in your work and take the time to put it together in a nice package that potential clients want to revisit time and time again. They will even refer your presentation to others if it is informative and interesting.  Remember the words of Benjamin Franklin when he said “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

Leave a comment

Facebook Insights

I sat with a friend last night giving him some basic pointers for running his Facebook page. We talked about posting and the kinds of things he can and should be posting about. I explained that by giving away free pieces of information he will naturally draw a crowd to his page because he will be providing information to them that is helpful and timely. I suggested that he take the questions he asks most and turns them into posts and that he should decide upon a posting schedule and stick to that faithfully so as not to give the impression to potential clients that he does not finish what he starts. He is just getting his business off the ground and thankfully he sees the benefit of utilizing social media, at least Facebook, to reach out to prospects and clients alike. One thing I was sure to review with him, as a newbie social user, was the insights page. As a new business user to Facebook, he didn’t even know that this existed. His eyes were as wide as saucers as I reviewed everything from page summary information showing engagements, likes and followers to how to see the age and gender gap for his followers as he adds them. I could smell the smoke as his brain began churning over how he would use this great tool. He began formulating how and when he would incorporate the details revealed here to maximize the ROI for the least amount of time away from his business. As a new business he wears many hats so he doesn’t have an abundance of time to spend trolling the internet for information. Things I take for granted like looking to similar industry pages for ideas and following partners and clients will easily help fill in the gaps. He however, never thought to utilize the very tool he was trying to master to find what he needed. Cue the climax music because my message had hit home and the seeds of creativity had definitely began to root. I did my job. Like my friend, for anyone just jumping in to this stuff, it can be overwhelming. Not knowing the tools you have at your fingertips that are designed to help you better understand your audience make up, days and times that your page is visited and even the types of posts that work best can be a huge disadvantage. The insights are available just like Google Analytics to help you dissect what you are sharing, to whom, when and in what medium it is being presented. You might get lucky and just have a knack for knowing what to put out there or perhaps your product sells itself and people just can’t get enough of it. That is possible but more than likely you will need all the help you can get to understand how to get the attention of the people you look to serve. If you aren’t utilizing Analytics for Facebook, take some time to review where you stand. It might just give you the insight you need to get a leg up on your competition.

Leave a comment

Attention To Details Right Down To The Pictures

I came across a situation recently that stopped me in my tracks. Not because I did not know that you should not do this but more so because I should share it with you. I take it for granted not to do stuff like this and have never done it, but,it’s worth mentioning nonetheless.

In this grand and sometimes complicated game of social media, it’s pretty much a given that all posts if they are not video, must have a picture included. There are many reasons for this, most of which have to do with wow factor, intrigue and attention grabbing. Since we began using the internet to engage with our clients we have evolved from the basic posts to GIF’s and graphic attachments as a device to make us louder in the deafening and level playing field known as the Internet. Not everyone jumped on board right away so some were late to the game and a little behind the eight ball in learning the do’s and don’ts of social etiquette. It’s pretty much how we as humans learn.

When it comes to utilizing pictures with your posts for your business or even selecting pictures to use on your website you should use pictures that help to clearly convey what it is exactly that you do. We sell auto insurance and when we post about auto insurance we use pictures of cars. When we talk about benefits we use pictures of happy families and if it’s a blog about wedding insurance we use pictures of wedding rings, a bride and groom or something that makes sense. People understand what we do when they come to our website in part because we use the right pictures to help convey the message. Everyone wants to stand out on the Internet over the masses of others doing the exact same thing we are doing. If we don’t should louder than the the rest we won’t be as likely to catch the eye of prospects.

NOT using the right pictures can be a big problem especially in the insurance industry when it comes to taking out a new policy for your business. You want to stand out but you should do so in the right way and for the right thing. If insurance companies need to research you before they insure your company they will go to your website & your social media pages. This will help them decide if you are a risk they can or want to insure. For example, if you build buildings then you shouldn’t have much trouble clearly and accurately conveying what you do. Use pictures of buildings in all stages of the construction process.  IF however your business makes decorative pieces that adorn a building or a marine vessel, such as gold pull handles or maybe even dental molding or you make hub caps for luxury vehicles, the photos you use on your website should clearly show those items and not the product they accessorize. If the insurance company cannot tell what exactly you do or is confused by what you say and depict that you do, you may find yourself in a pickle when trying to get your insurance bound.

If you aren’t sure about how you are portraying yourself, ask someone who isn’t in the business or give your agent or one of our FBinsure Risk Advisors a call for help

Leave a comment

NLRA Protections & Employee Social Media Activity

Employees often write posts about the company on social media sites. Do I have the authority to monitor this and discipline an employee if negative comments are made, even though it’s outside of working hours?

An employee’s right to comment on his or her employer may be protected by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Provisions of this act, such as the right of employees to discuss, question or criticize their terms and conditions of employment, extend to unionized and non-unionized workers.

Under the NLRA, if an employee is addressing group concerns or is acting on behalf of others, those activities are protected and employers may not take disciplinary action against the employee. This protection extends to social media posts and situations where employees have commented on or “liked” co-workers’ online posts made during or outside of working hours.

However, this protection does not apply to outrageously disgraceful or shameful conduct and reckless or maliciously untrue communications. In addition, individuals are not protected by the NLRA when they act in their own interests or address purely personal complaints.

To avoid violating NLRA protections for employees using social media, employers should adopt policies that are narrowly tailored to:

·         Prevent discriminatory remarks, harassment, bullying, threats of violence and other behavior that is unacceptable at the workplace;

·         Request that employees identify that their comments are their personal opinions and do not represent their employers’ official positions on any specific issues; and

·         Request that employees do not disclose trade secrets, publish internal reports, provide tips based on inside information or participate in other activities that may be considered inside trading.

Employers wishing to manage their online reputation should refrain from participating in controversial practices such as requiring employees to disclose their personal social media login information. Many states have laws prohibiting such conduct by employers.